How should you manage performance in the cloud?

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I’m looking forward to my Cloud Connect panel, “Instrumenting Applications When Access Goes Away,” on Monday March 7th in Santa Clara. I’ve seen a lot of companies migrate their mission critical applications to the cloud. And what changes when companies start managing cloud-based apps?  To quote our customer, Adrian Cockcroft at Netflix– “Everything. Data center oriented tools don’t work in a cloud environment.”

The world of the cloud means that there’s more things to manage by a factor of 10: whereas the physical data center may contain a handful of servers, cloud nodes are made up of thousands of commodity, low-cost servers  To add to this complexity, cloud servers are easily replaced and thousands of instances can be added or dropped at staggering speed.

In such a quicksilver environment, it’s pretty easy to see how “data center approaches” to app management fail completely.  Obviously, overseeing the health of application infrastructure – figuring out CPU Utilization, Disk I/O, etc. — doesn’t work at all once you enter the cloud. You could also try to collect metrics related to method-level performance — but again, with the flood of data created by a vast, quickly changing cloud environment, your ability to actually find the “smoking gun” inside all of that information is next-to-impossible.

The only true way to manage cloud-based apps is to focus on business transactions.

Only business transactions provide a constant assurance metric that can be used to measure baseline performance, even when nodes are spinning up and down constantly. A business transaction focus enables app management to scale, allowing insight into thousands of cloud nodes through a single pane of glass.

It also allows for complete visibility; instead of focusing on code-level metrics, it’s possible to trace a transaction through its entire cloud-based journey without confronting either blind spots or sacrificing the ability to access deep diagnostics as needed.

At Cloud Connect, I hope to talk more about business transactions and provide my definition of what a business transaction actually is. But if you can’t make it, check back here soon!

Jyoti Bansal

Jyoti Bansal

Jyoti founded AppDynamics in early 2008 with the vision of defining the next-generation of application performance management (APM) solutions for distributed applications running in cloud, virtual, and physical environments. Before founding AppDynamics, Jyoti led the design and architecture for several products at Wily Technology. Jyoti received his BS in Computer Science from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. He is the lead inventor on 14 US patent applications in the field of distributed applications management.